6:05 p.m. MST, Budweiser Events Center, Loveland, Colorado
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Referees: Chris Waterstradt (88) Jack Young (24)
Linespersons: Jamie Alary (60) Seth Mukai (81)
The Tucson Roadrunners open a six-game road trip Saturday night with the first of two matchups against the Colorado Eagles. The weekend series from the Budweiser Events Center represent the final two contests of the season between the Roadrunners and the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, as well as Tucson’s only trip to Colorado this year. The Roadrunners enter the weekend with wins in two of their last three outings, while the Eagles are continuing a four-game home stand after back-to-back midweek wins over the San Jose Barracuda.
1) Saturday’s series opener is the first game between the Roadrunners and Eagles in Colorado since Tucson closed out last season’s Gem Show Road Trip at the Budweiser Events Center February 11 and 12 of 2022. The Roadrunners have won each of their two last series openers in Colorado by multiple goals, as Tucson’s 4-1 victory in their first meeting of the 2021-2022 season on December 3, 2021 featured a pair of goals from current forward Hudson Elynuik. Elynuik opened the scoring with 6:55 gone by in the opening frame before adding an empty-net tally with six seconds remaining in regulation for his first multi-goal game as a Roadrunner. The 25-year-old also lit the lamp a week ago for his seventh goal of the season in a 3-2 shootout victory over the first-place Calgary Wranglers. Tucson is undefeated in all seven games that Elynuik has scored a goal in this year with an overall record of 9-0 when he lights the lamp since he joined the Roadrunners for the 2021-2022 campaign.
2) The Budweiser Events Center in Colorado is a significant location for both goaltenders on Tucson’s current roster, as it is where Tyler Parks and David Tendeck each made their first American Hockey League starts. Parks earned his first career AHL win in his first ever start for Tucson on January 11, 2020, when he stopped 31 of 33 shots faced in a 4-2 Roadrunners win over the Eagles. Parks also denied 18 of the 20 total shots he faced in relief the night before in Colorado for his AHL debut. Netminder David Tendeck started in an AHL crease for the first time two years later on February 11, 2022 at the Budweiser Events Center, and recorded 27 saves on 28 shots faced while keeping the Eagles scoreless for the opening 55:43 of the contest before a late power-play goal in a 3-1 Tucson victory. Tendeck stopped all 17 shots faced in relief two days prior on the road against the Abbotsford Canucks to begin his American Hockey League career with a scoreless streak of 92 minutes and 30 seconds.
3) Saturday’s matchup from Colorado marks the start of Tucson’s longest continuous road trip of the 2022-2023 season, a six-game stretch that will also take the Roadrunners to San Diego, Bakersfield and Henderson. Tucson is 6-4-0-2 since their last extended road trip that began the month of February, with wins in back-to-back series openers on the road since. In all, the Roadrunners have earned standings points in five of their six series openers since returning from February’s Gem Show Road Trip with a 4-1-1-0 record in those contests. The current six-game road trip also represents the Roadrunners final six games away from the Tucson Arena this season, with each of their last four regular season contests taking place on their home ice starting on April 7 against the Texas Stars.
What’s The Word?
“It’s a lot of games against a lot of good hockey teams. We have to be ready for it, especially for a team like Colorado. We know what they’re capable of, and this could be a make-or-break road trip for us. We have to go in there and get the job done. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we just have to stick together and push forward.”Roadrunners Captain Adam Cracknell on Tucson starting their final road trip of the season Saturday night against the Colorado Eagles.
Number to Know
9 – The number of former Roadrunners players in Friday night’s NHL matchup between the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche after 10 former Roadrunners took the ice for Arizona on Wednesday in Edmonton. The Coyotes added forward Nathan Smith for Friday’s contest in Denver after he was recalled from Tucson, while forward Boko Imama was assigned to the Roadrunners ahead of their two-game series with the Eagles. Smith became the 11th Roadrunners player to receive an NHL call-up this season, and joined Michael Kesselring, Barrett Hayton, Christian Fischer, Matias Maccelli, Lawson Crouse, Victor Soderstrom and J.J. Moser for the final outing of Arizona’s three-game road trip. With the Coyotes taking on the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, this weekend marks the second time in three weeks that the Roadrunners are taking on the AHL affiliate of Arizona’s NHL opponent. Earlier this month, the Coyotes hosted the Nashville Predators for a 4-1 win at Mullett Arena on Thursday, March 10, before Tucson took on the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals on the road the next two days.
We’re Doing It Live
Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on AHLtv, as well as on the radio on FOX Sports 1450AM and the iHeartRadio app. Coverage begins at 5:45 with Roadrunners Warm-Up hosted by Jimmy Peebles, before “Voice of the Roadrunners” Adrian Denny has all the action from the Budweiser Events Center.